In Case You Missed It: Interior Continues to Safely Restore Access to Public Lands

Last edited 05/16/2020

Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020


Secretary Bernhardt opens the Flight 93 Memorial National Park with park staff Friday, May 15.

WASHINGTON - This week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt was on the road again, conducting site inspections at National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges. The Secretary met with park superintendents and refuge managers to see firsthand how they are safely restoring access to America’s public lands. An overwhelming majority of Interior-managed public lands continue to be accessible to the public with additional opportunities becoming available each day as the Department works alongside governors to Open Up America Again.

Restoring Access To Hallowed Grounds 

Secretary Bernhardt and Western Pennsylvania National Parks Superintendent Stephen Clark opened the gates at the Flight 93 Memorial National Park. It was one of the five Western Pennsylvania park units that restored access to the public on Friday. The Secretary inspected the Tower of Voices, where he assessed progress on a project to update the chimes and joined NPS staff in cleaning the Wall of Names. 

Secretary Bernhardt washes the Wall of Names with National Park staff at Flight 93 Memorial National Park.
Secretary Bernhardt washes the Wall of Names with National Park staff at Flight 93 Memorial National Park. 

Supporting Outdoor Recreation  

The Department supports a total of 452,000 jobs and $58.1 billion in economic output for recreation activities across 500 million acres of public lands. Safely restoring access to public lands is critical to fueling the country’s economic growth in gateway communities and supporting small businesses throughout the country. During his visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Secretary Bernhardt, U.S. Representative Dave Joyce (OH-14), and the Cleveland Area Mountain Biking Association reopened the park's East Rim Mountain Bike Trail System.  


Secretary Bernhardt and U.S. Representative Dave Joyce (OH-14) open a mountain bike trail at Cuyahoga Valley National Park's East Rim Mountain Bike Trail System.

Secretary Bernhardt then traveled to Erie National Wildlife Refuge, where he was joined by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-16). Refuge Manager Vicki Muller updated the Secretary and the Congressman on refuge projects being completed by the Maintenance Action Team (MAT). The MAT’s primary purpose is to provide training and career development for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees. 

Secretary Bernhardt speaks with U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-16) and Erie National Wildlife Refuge Manager Vicki Muller.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt speaks with U.S. Representative Mike Kelly and Erie National Wildlife Refuge Manager Vicki Muller

American Outdoor Recreation Enterprise 

During a visit to a manufacturer of outdoor products in Middlefield, Ohio, Secretary Bernhardt had the opportunity to meet with hardworking men and women that help power the outdoor recreation industry. 


Secretary Bernhardt tours an outdoor products supplier in Middlefield, Ohio.

National Parks and Public Lands Across the Country Welcoming Visitors

The health and safety of visitors, volunteers, partners, and federal employees continues to be paramount as the Department restores public access to public lands again. President Trump recognizes the magnificence and grandeur of our National Park System and public lands and the incredible benefits of the great outdoors. Access to public lands continues to be evaluated in accordance with federal, state, and local public health guidance with some notable locations beginning to welcome visitors back this week:

  • May 9
    • Lake Berryessa, California
    • Lake New Melones, California
  • May 11
    • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Georgia
  • May 13
    • Zion National Park, Utah
    • Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado and Utah
    • Little Sahara Recreation Area, Utah
  • May 14
    • Hovenweep National Monument, Utah
    • Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
  • May 15
    • Buffalo National River, Arkansas
    • Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado
    • Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado
    • Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
    • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Georgia and Tennessee
    • Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
    • The Parks of Western Pennsylvania, including, Allegheny Portage National Historic Site, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, and Flight 93 National Memorial, Pennsylvania
    • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona


Photo Credit: All photos taken by Tami Heilemann, Department Photographer.

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